A Good Read A Good Listen and a Good Drink: Nikos Mixas, Twingiant


It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. Twingiant are in a transitional phase, and by that I mean they are in the process of evolving from stoner/sludge metal to a more “traditional” sound. The two songs below are their most recent demo and serve as signposts for their new direction. Here’s what I like: It’s heavy, sure, but there’s some guitar wizardry … Continue reading

Everything Dies, Des Ark


Des Ark is led by Aimee Argote, and lives at the intersection of shoegaze and folk music, but the shoegaze aspect, at least on this record, is applied with a light touch. Argote has sweet delicate voice, which she uses to sing songs that are sometimes sweet and delicate but are often gloriously vulgar. Also, 50% of the reason I listened to most of the record was I was amused and intrigued by the song titles. Or I guess I should say, the song titles were why I started listening. I kept listening because the music is good. Everything Dies by Des Ark

Quite Contrary, Pansy Division


After 25 years as a band, the last 7 of which were (relatively) quiet, Pansy Division are back with a new record: Quite Contrary. They were the first all-gay punk band; in 1994 they toured with Green Day. If you’d like to listen to their back catalog, they have helpfully uploaded several of their old records to bandcamp, including an extensive compilation of live performances. The new record is in keeping with their pop-punk style – puckish and charming, but watch out for sharp edges – but it’s clear they’re feeling their years. Or maybe I’m just feeling mine? In any case I found myself waffling between affectionate amusement and rueful agreement even when I was thinking Okay, Old Men Yelling At Clouds. But then there is something to be said about having made it to being a grumpy old person, is there not? Anyway, songs I especially liked include Love Came Along, Work On It, Babe, and their version of the Pet Shop Boys’ It’s a Sin. Quite Contrary by Pansy Division

Late Night Listening: Follow Me Down, Eddy Kaiser


Late Night Listening: a home for things that might be fleeting, might be soothing, might be weird, might be soothing and weird. The blogging equivalent of sitting in the garage twiddling radio knobs just to see what might be out there. I found this while I was looking for something else: Follow Me Down, by Eddy Kaiser. He’s from Nantes, France, and he makes folk music with rock and roll undercurrents, and he’s got a rich, fluid voice, which he uses to haunting effect. Follow me down by Eddy Kaiser

Late Night Listening: The Wilderness, Explosions in the Sky


Late Night Listening: a home for things that might be fleeting, might be soothing, might be weird, might be soothing and weird. The blogging equivalent of sitting in the garage twiddling radio knobs just to see what might be out there. The Wildnerness is the latest record from Explosions in the Sky, of Austin, Texas. I’m filing it to Late Night Listening, but the most transcendent moment I had while listening to it came in the middle of a glorious fall afternoon. I was driving up the Natchez Trace, winding through the trees and admiring the subtle color – Mississippi doesn’t really do autumn on a grand and glorious scale – when the title track came on. For four and a half minutes, everything was beautifully balanced and perfect. The rest of the record is also pretty great. Explosions in the Sky operates in the Venn diagram of “modern classical” and “rock and roll” by which I mean they use keyboards, guitars, and drums to create tumultuous, wordless modern soundscapes that somebody, someday, will think of the way we think of Bach or Beethoven. Sometimes they shimmer, sometimes they roar, sometimes they shimmer and roar. But they are always magnificent. … Continue reading

Compilations of Note: Revere Rock City


Revere Rock City is the Fall 2016 compilation from Spark and Fizz, a Boston-area blog and record label. All of the proceeds will go to buy instruments for the rock ensemble program at Garfield Middle School in Revere, MA. The program provides opportunities for children to learn to play in bands, and gives them a place to play where they can make as much noise as they want and not disturb the neighbors, something in short supply in Revere. The tunes, provided by a variety of bands from the Greater Boston area, encompass a diverse array of musical styles. And, as a tremendous bonus, the hard copy version of the record comes with a zine done school newspaper style, including articles about local bands, art by students, and a custom crossword. REVERE ROCK CITY by Spark & Fizz

WHOOP-Szo, Citizens Ban(ne)d Radio


WHOOP-Szo, scrappy little band of my heart (Frozen North division) has released a new record, which, like previous efforts, is a multi-layered and -textured piece of music that blossoms afresh with each re-listen. It is, by turns, dark, twisty, fuzzy, bright and beautiful. Some parts of it sound like a choir; others like an oncoming storm. It is all well worth your time. WHOOP-Szo – Citizen's Ban(ne)d Radio by Out of Sound Records

Superior, Self Defense Family


The real point of this post is to tell y’all that Run for Cover Records has put a whole lot of its catalog on bandcamp and that everything is “pay what you can” for the weekend, with the proceeds going to Planned Parenthood. They’re matching up to $5000, and last I looked the total donation was at $14,000. Superior by Self Defense Family is one of the records available. Self Defense Family is an artistic/musical collective mostly from upstate New York, sufficiently fluid in composition and style that every record is distinctive and unlike the last, though they tend to drift on the hardcore-shoegaze currents. This particular record is more shoegaze, which for them means it’s a little softer and there’s no angry yelling. Superior by Self Defense Family

Folk Music Friday: Laghdú, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and Dan Trueman


Today on Folk Music Friday: ALL FIDDLES ALL THE TIME. Laghdú, which translates as “a lessening, a decrease, a reduction,” is Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and Dan Trueman‘s debut record. Both of them are accomplished solo artists; Ó Raghallaigh is also a member of The Gloaming and This Is How We Fly, and Truman, a professor of music at Princeton University, also recently collaborated with Adam Sliwinski and So Percussion. On this record, they both play a 10 string instrument that is a cross between a Norwegian Hardanger fiddle and a viola d’amore. And as fiddle music goes, their tunes are unusual – experimental, even, in shape, structure and texture. The sounds are bold, sometimes hovering on the edge of irritating, but ultimately compelling; the songs expand, contract, and loop back and forth in intriguing ways. While the tracks can be absorbed individually, I very strongly suggest listening to the whole thing straight through for a more immersive experience. Laghdú by Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh & Dan Trueman